Editor’s note: We are printing District Attorney David Hollister’s letter to business owners with his permission. As businesses consider reopening (against the governor’s orders) he wants to remind them of the potential consequences. Expect Hollister to lay out more specific steps today to address noncompliance as at least one business has reopened.
Dear Plumas County Business Owners –
I know many of you who have been closed during the pandemic are considering ignoring the Governor’s March 19th Order and reopening. If you are considering opening, I urge you to consider the following… Plumas County very much appreciates the dedication and sacrifice of the residents and businesses who have followed the Governor’s Executive Order urging all Californians to stay at home. Following this order has made a tremendous difference: together we have bent the curve, we have successfully protected our most vulnerable populations, and we have preserved our local healthcare system.
We recognize these accomplishments have not come without a price. It has been a long road since the order was signed on March 19. The local economy has been hit hard and there is a tremendous stress on our community. But to let our guard down now would be a big mistake. We cannot risk undoing all the great work that we have accomplished. Plumas County’s Public Health Department tells us our communities are still at risk. Our county is close to areas that have not yet seen steady declines in COVID-19 cases. Social mixing allows this disease to spread and many people who get sick have little to no symptoms. The disease can then be easily passed to those at highest risk, resulting in serious health complications or death. Public Health urges you to continue following the stay at home order until it is officially lifted not just because Sacramento has told us to do this but because our health experts in Plumas County are telling us if we fail to do so we run the risk of harming our friends, families and neighbors.
On April 26, 2020, Public Health issued a press release outlining a path for Plumas County businesses to reopen. We, all, are anxious for the day the Governor’s Order is lifted and we can get back to business. In the meantime, I very much hope Plumas County businesses continue to follow the Governor’s stay at home Order. If one business defies this order, while the rest comply, not only does it endanger our county but it creates an unfair advantage for the business disobeying the law at the expense of our collective health. Government Code section 8665 makes it a misdemeanor to disobey the Governor’s Order. A misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 (with penalty assessment that fine would end up being over $5,000!). The last thing I want to do is be in a position to prosecute you or any other business owner during our battle with this wretched virus. We are all rooting for Plumas County businesses and hope to see each of you open the second it is legal and safe to do so.
I applaud the sacrifice you have made for the health of Plumas County and ask you to continue doing so. If you have any questions, please email or call me (contact info is on the Plumas County website). If I don’t have an answer for you I’ll find someone who does.
Again, thank you for your sacrifice in keeping Plumas County safe and healthy.